Role of MIF1/MIF2/CD74 interactions in bladder cancer

Benjamin L. Woolbright, Ganeshkumar Rajendran, Erika Abbott, Austin Martin, Sarah Amalraj, Katie Dennis, Xiaogang Li, Joshua Warrick, John A. Taylor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF1) is a pleiotropic cytokine involved in inflammation and cancer. Genetic knockout of Mif1 in the validated N-butyl-N-(4-hydroxybutyl) nitrosamine (BBN) model of bladder cancer (BCa) resulted in stage arrest at non-muscle-invasive disease in prior studies. Small-molecule inhibition of MIF1 reduced cancer-associated outcomes, but it did not fully recapitulate genetic models. D-dopachrome tautomerase (gene symbol DDT), commonly referred to as MIF2, is a functional homolog of MIF1, and both MIF1 and MIF2 can bind the cell surface receptor CD74 on multiple cell types to initiate a signaling cascade. It has been proposed that this interaction mediates part of the protumorigenic effects of MIF1 and MIF2 and may explain the discordance in prior studies. We hypothesized that MIF2 functions redundantly with MIF1 in BCa development and progression. The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) analysis indicated MIF and DDT expression were increased in BCa patients compared to control. 4-Iodopyridine (4-IPP), a combined MIF1/MIF2 inhibitor, was more efficacious than ISO-1, a MIF1-only inhibitor, in preventing cellular proliferation in BCa cell lines. To evaluate these findings in vivo, wild-type (WT) and Mif1−/− animals were exposed to 0.05% BBN in drinking water for 16 weeks to initiate tumorigenesis and then evaluated over the subsequent 4 weeks for tumor formation and progression in the presence or absence of 4-IPP. 4-IPP reduced bladder weights in WT animals and bladder weights/tumor stage in Mif1−/− animals. To determine whether MIF1/MIF2 functioned through CD74 in BCa, WT or Cd74−/− animals were used in the same BBN model. Although these animals were partially protected against BBN-induced BCa, 4-IPP did not enhance this effect. In conclusion, our data suggest that MIF2 mechanistically functions in a similar protumorigenic manner to MIF1, and this is at least partially through CD74. Dual inhibition of MIF homologs is more efficacious at reducing tumor burden in this model of BCa.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)46-55
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Pathology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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